Life takes form in a new Ion Theatre mural.

Ion Theatre artist Kate Schott paints a cool mural on a wall in Hillcrest.
Ion Theatre artist Kate Schott paints a cool mural on a wall in Hillcrest.

A mural is being painted on a wall next to the entrance of the Ion Theatre in Hillcrest. I first saw the new artwork a few days ago, so I snapped several photos. Today I swung by again after work to see what progress had been made.

By comparing photos, you can get a glimpse of the creative process. Kate Schott, the muralist, is a multi-talented Ion Theatre artist who is bringing this cool vision to life.

I hope to swing by on a later day to see the finished work! I’ll post photos!

A few days later, a human figure in the mural is coming to life. I look forward to seeing the finished work!
A few days later, a human figure in the mural is coming to life. I look forward to seeing the finished work!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Journey through dreams at the San Diego Art Institute.

Visitor to the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park journeys through a dream.
Visitor to the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park journeys through a dream.

Stepping into the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park is like entering a world of dreams. Weird, unexpected dreams hover around corners, dangle overhead, emerge mysteriously from the floor and walls.

A journey through this dreamworld opens one’s eyes to the possibilities of human creativity. During my recent visit I felt as though I were floating through some sort of Twilight Zone. The unearthly sounds, the psychedelic whirls of video, the explosions of imagination, the seemingly sublime and inexplicable visions.

If you’re in San Diego and love provocative art, head over to Balboa Park! The San Diego Art Institute is more gallery than museum, with exhibits that change every couple of months.

One can wander through a maze of rampant human creativity.
One can wander through a maze of rampant human creativity  The current exhibit focuses on mixed media.
Upside down, strange and sudden.
Upside down, strange and sudden.
Through alleys of dazzling images.
Through alleys of dazzling images.
Aaron Garretson, Sunday Morning Cocktails. Threat, yarn, cloth, found materials. 2016.
Aaron Garretson, Sunday Morning Cocktails. Threat, yarn, cloth, found materials. 2016.
Weird visions on a wall include spinning blobs of video.
Weird visions on a wall include spinning blobs of video.
Elise Amour, Untitled. Mixed media with vintage photo. 2017.
Elise Amour, Untitled. Mixed media with vintage photo. 2017.
Surrounded by art. Slow feet meander from dream to dream.
Surrounded by art. Slow feet meander from dream to dream.
Eight pieces by Jodi Hays. Gouache, ink and collage on paper. 2015.
Eight pieces by Jodi Hays. Gouache, ink and collage on paper. 2015.

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Do you like to read original, thought-provoking fiction? To read a few stories I’ve written (and something that resembles a poem), click Short Stories by Richard.

San Diego Harbor and Backcountry: Reiffel paintings.

A small part of a large, dynamic painting of San Diego's working waterfront.
A small part of a large, dynamic painting of San Diego’s working waterfront.

Yesterday I enjoyed a visit to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park. In addition to checking out various fascinating exhibits, I paused for a moment to gaze upon two large murals on display that were painted in 1936 by Charles Reiffel.

Charles Reiffel was a renowned Post-Impressionist landscape painter who was sometimes referred to as the American Van Gogh. Looking at these truly impressive paintings, one can understand why! The viewer enters his color-splashed, dreamy world and simply wants to linger.

Two more wonderful Reiffel paintings can be seen in Balboa Park inside the Casa de Balboa. I have photos of them here!

Charles Reiffel, San Diego Harbor, 1936. Oil on canvas. WPA mural inside the San Diego History Center that was originally commissioned for San Diego High School.
Charles Reiffel, San Diego Harbor, 1936. Oil on canvas. WPA mural inside the San Diego History Center that was originally commissioned for San Diego High School.
This part of the fantastic oil painting depicts a pier and activity on San Diego Bay.
This part of the fantastic oil painting depicts a pier and activity on San Diego Bay.
Boats and buildings along San Diego's colorful harbor.
Boats and buildings along San Diego’s colorful harbor.
Charles Reiffel, San Diego Backcountry, 1936. Oil on canvas. WPA mural inside the San Diego History Center that was originally commissioned for San Diego High School.
Charles Reiffel, San Diego Backcountry, 1936. Oil on canvas. WPA mural inside the San Diego History Center that was originally commissioned for San Diego High School.
This part of the oil painting shows homes in the hills of San Diego.
This part of the oil painting shows homes in the hills of San Diego.
First introduced by Spanish explorers and missionaries, horse riding has become a popular activity in the country surrounding San Diego.
First introduced by Spanish explorers and missionaries, horse riding has become a popular activity in the country surrounding San Diego.
A farmer plows a field somewhere in beautiful San Diego.
A farmer plows a field somewhere in beautiful San Diego.

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Rabbitville bunny pops up at Jacaranda Spring Thing!

A fiberglass rabbit named Willabee painted by artist Matt Forderer contains images from San Diego's history.
A fiberglass rabbit named Willabee painted by artist Matt Forderer contains images from San Diego’s history.

As I walked about the Jacaranda Spring Thing festival on Cortez Hill this afternoon, I noticed an unusual critter hanging out near the Tweet Street park. Turns out it was a Rabbitville bunny!

Rabbitville is a public art project of the Gaslamp Quarter Association. Fifteen fiberglass rabbits are being painted creatively by local artists to represent the Gaslamp Quarter’s colorful history. The area in the mid 19th century was jokingly called Rabbitville because there seemed to be more rabbits than people.

New Town, established by Alonzo Horton, would ultimately become the location of today’s dynamic downtown, with the revitalized Gaslamp–originally a red-light district called the Stingaree–a modern entertainment hub.

The rabbit I spotted is called Willabee and was created by artist Matt Forderer. It is the first rabbit of the Rabbitville Public Art project! Images painted on it include Horton Plaza’s historic Jessop’s Street Clock and the Gaslamp’s famous Louis Bank of Commerce Building, location of Wyatt Earp’s notorious Oyster Bar.

These Rabbitville rabbits were spotted today at the Jacarada Spring Thing festival on Cortez Hill. One has yet to be painted.
These Rabbitville rabbits were spotted today at the Jacaranda Spring Thing festival on Cortez Hill. One has yet to be painted.
A bunny with a fascinating story to tell.
A bunny with a fascinating story to tell.
In this photo I see the Jessop's Street Clock and the Louis Bank of Commerce Building!
In this photo I see the Jessop’s Street Clock and the Louis Bank of Commerce Building!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Balboa Park artist paints life size Breeders’ Cup horse!

Artist in Balboa Park's Spanish Village tells visitors about her very unique work of art.
Artist in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village tells visitors about her very unique work of art.

I discovered something very cool during my walk through Balboa Park this evening. Bonnie Chance, an artist in Spanish Village Art Center, was applying paint to a life size fiberglass racehorse!

This artfully painted horse will be displayed prominently in San Diego with various others during the upcoming Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar. The project is called Art of the Horse. The painted and decorated horses will be part of a dinner and auction prior to the Breeders’ Cup. Money raised will assist various local charities.

I believe the artist said her creation’s name is Biscuit.

Spanish Village Art Center is hosting two life size race horses being painted for the 2017 Breeders Cup at Del Mar.
Spanish Village Art Center is hosting two life size race horses being painted for the 2017 Breeders Cup at Del Mar.
This impressive, lifelike horse sculpture is painted with images of underwater ocean life.
This impressive, lifelike horse sculpture is painted with images of underwater ocean life.
A large seahorse on a horse named Sea Biscuit. The famous Sea Biscuit ran a legendary race at Del Mar in 1938.
A large seahorse on a horse named Biscuit. The legendary Sea Biscuit won a famous race at Del Mar in 1938.

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Elegant interior of the historic U.S. Grant Hotel.

The south side of the historic U.S. Grant Hotel, as seen from an upper level of Horton Plaza. The 1910 Broadway Fountain is visible in Horton Plaza Park.
The south side of the historic U.S. Grant Hotel, as seen from an upper level of Horton Plaza. The 1910 Broadway Fountain is visible in Horton Plaza Park.

During last weekend’s San Diego Architectural Foundation’s OPEN HOUSE 2017, I ventured into one of the event’s featured downtown locations: the historic U.S. Grant Hotel. I was able to get some photos of the hotel’s elegant interior!

The U.S. Grant was built by Ulysses S. Grant, Jr., the son of American President Ulysses S. Grant. The building was designed by architect Harrison Albright and built in the same spot where Alonzo Horton had his 1870 Horton House Hotel, which was demolished.

The U.S. Grant Hotel opened in 1910. It featured a steel and reinforced concrete framework to counter the threats of fire and California earthquakes. For over a hundred years the grand old hotel has stood prominently at the center of downtown San Diego. Notable guests have included 15 United States Presidents (there are 3 different presidential suites), Albert Einstein and Charles Lindbergh.

It’s also interesting to note the very first San Diego Comic-Con was held in the U.S. Grant, back in 1970.

The east side entrance of the elegant U.S. Grant Hotel on Fourth Avenue in downtown San Diego.
The east side entrance of the elegant U.S. Grant Hotel on Fourth Avenue in downtown San Diego.
I entered the hotel from the east entrance, where many guests arrive.
I entered the hotel from the east entrance, where many guests arrive.
The elegant interior just inside the east entrance.
The elegant interior just inside the east entrance.
Large glittering chandeliers add a glamorous touch throughout the posh hotel.
Large glittering chandeliers add a glamorous touch throughout the posh hotel.
Some beautiful artwork above stairs descending to the Crystal Ballroom.
Some beautiful artwork above stairs descending to the Crystal Ballroom.
Standing in the grand lobby, looking south toward the U.S. Grant Hotel's entrance on Broadway.
Standing in the grand lobby, looking south toward the U.S. Grant Hotel’s entrance on Broadway.
The U.S. Grant Hotel's front desk.
The U.S. Grant Hotel’s front desk.
The beautiful lobby, fit for royalty.
The beautiful lobby, fit for royalty.
A small sculpture near the Broadway entrance is titled Sweet Dreams, by artist David A. Montour.
A small sculpture near the Broadway entrance is titled Sweet Dreams, by artist David A. Montour.
Even the hotel elevators are beautiful.
Even the hotel elevators are beautiful.
A sitting area near the bank of elevators.
A sitting area near the bank of elevators.
Portraits along this wall include Native Americans. The U.S. Grant Hotel was bought by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation in 2003. It is operated by Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
Portraits along this wall include Native Americans. The U.S. Grant Hotel was bought by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation in 2003. It is operated by Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
North of the elevators is this large Presidential Portrait of Ulysses S. Grant.
North of the elevators is this large Presidential Portrait of Ulysses S. Grant.
Old photo of the Horton House, which stood at this downtown San Diego location before its demolition.
Old photo of the Horton House, which stood at this downtown San Diego location before its demolition.
Headline of The Evening Tribune announces the opening of the U.S. Grant Hotel on October 15, 1910.
Headline of The Evening Tribune announces the opening of the U.S. Grant Hotel on October 15, 1910.
On display is a 1910 US Grant Hotel door knob.
On display is a 1910 US Grant Hotel door knob.
A look across the U.S. Grant Hotel lobby from the mezzanine level. Pure elegance.
A look across the U.S. Grant Hotel lobby from the mezzanine level. Pure elegance.

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Art and history at the SDSU Downtown Gallery.

People walk along Broadway near the entrance of the SDSU Downtown Gallery.
People walk along Broadway near the entrance of the SDSU Downtown Gallery.

One of the sites that I visited this weekend during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s OPEN HOUSE 2017 was the SDSU Downtown Gallery. I’d never stepped into the small art gallery before. Rotating exhibits feature the work of faculty and students at SDSU.

The building in which the gallery is housed, located at the corner of Kettner Boulevard and Broadway, served as the 1911 Station B power plant of the San Diego Electric Railway. The historic railway, which served a large area of early San Diego, was established by John D. Spreckels.

According to a short tour and handout I was given, a circa 1900 building at this location served as an earlier San Diego Electric Railway power house, railcar barn and paint shop. Some enormous doors still exist in the building today where train cars would enter and exit. I also learned the extravagant 1897 Los Banos bathhouse stood at the building’s northwest corner–but there remains no trace of that historic old structure.

In 1921, San Diego Consolidated Gas and Electric Company purchased Station B, and two additions to the building were subsequently made. The additions were designed by famed architect William Templeton Johnson.

Today the original Station B power plant contains powerful works of art, and forms a section of the base of the skyscraping Electra Building, a modern residential development built in 2008.

Please enjoy some photos of the gallery and the historic building.

If you love art and find yourself downtown while the gallery is open, swing on by!

I took this photo at another time. Now part of the high-rise Electra Building, this used to be the 1911 Station B power plant of the San Diego Electric Railway.
Now part of the high-rise Electra Building, this originally was the 1911 Station B power plant of the San Diego Electric Railway.
Historical ornamentation above the front entrance of the SDSU Downtown Gallery.
Historical ornamentation above the front entrance of the SDSU Downtown Gallery.
Walk through these beads to enjoy a small but dynamic art gallery in downtown San Diego.
Walk through these beads to enjoy a small but dynamic art gallery in downtown San Diego.
Works on the gallery walls were produced by faculty and students at San Diego State University. Exhibits change every few months.
Works on the gallery walls were produced by faculty and students at San Diego State University. Exhibits change every few months.
Description of current gallery exhibit by faculty and students of San Diego State University. Every Which Way investigates artistic experience and human movement.
Description of current gallery exhibit by faculty and students of San Diego State University. Every Which Way investigates artistic experience and human movement.
Visitor to the gallery checks out thought-provoking artwork.
Visitor to the gallery checks out thought-provoking artwork.
Fear/Less, 2016, by Troy Guard.
Fear/Less, 2016, by Troy Guard.
Works of human imagination along one wall.
Works of human imagination along one wall.
The serigraphs on this wall were made by students in the SDSU Graphic Design program. Imagery depicts ocean and desert ecosystems as migratory environments.
The serigraphs on this wall were made by students in the SDSU Graphic Design program. Imagery depicts ocean and desert ecosystems as migratory environments.
More eye-catching works of art.
More eye-catching works of art.
Some of the pieces are quite unusual and creative.
Some of the pieces are quite unusual and creative.
A short talk begins in the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Just one fascinating tour during the San Diego Architectural Foundation's OPEN HOUSE 2017.
A short tour begins in the SDSU Downtown Gallery–Just one fascinating tour during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s OPEN HOUSE 2017.
We are shown various photos, including Station B behind Santa Fe Depot in the 1960s. The smokestacks were removed in the 1980s.
We are shown various photos, including Station B behind Santa Fe Depot in the 1960s. The smokestacks were removed in the 1980s.
Old photo of Los Banos, a bathhouse which was located just south of Santa Fe Depot. The neo-Moorish structure designed by William S. Hebbard and Irving J. Gill opened in 1897.
Old photo of Los Banos, a bathhouse which was located just south of Santa Fe Depot. The neo-Moorish structure designed by William S. Hebbard and Irving J. Gill opened in 1897.
One of the enormous, heavy doors is opened from inside the historic building. I was told these were used for a railcar barn. Was coal for the power plant unloaded here? I don't know.
One of the enormous, heavy doors is opened from inside the historic building. I was told these were used for a railcar barn.
Our tour walks along Broadway side of the SDSU Downtown Gallery building.
Our small tour group walks down the sidewalk along the Broadway side of the SDSU Downtown Gallery building.
Now we are at the southeast corner of the large Electra Building, which rises above the historic San Diego Gas and Electric building.
Now we are at the southeast corner of the large Electra Building, which rises above the historic San Diego Gas and Electric building.
A symbolic painting inside the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Waves Inside, 2016, by Alison Zuniga.
A symbolic painting inside the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Waves Inside, 2016, by Alison Zuniga.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fun photos for you to share and enjoy!